1959 Cadillac Coupe De Ville left
Cadillac is a luxury vehicle marque owned by General Motors Company. Cadillac vehicles are sold in over 50 countries and territories, but mainly in North America.
Cadillac is currently the oldest American automobile manufacturer and among the oldest automobile brands in the world. Founded in 1902 as the Cadillac Automobile Company, it was purchased in 1909 by General Motors and over the next 30 years established itself as America's premier luxury car. Cadillac pioneered many accessories in automobiles, including full electrical systems, the clashless manual transmission and the steel roof. The brand developed three engines, one of which (the V8) set the standard for the American automotive industry.
Cadillac was purchased by the General Motors (GM) conglomerate in 1909. Cadillac became General Motors' prestige division, devoted to the production of large luxury vehicles. The Cadillac line was also GM's default marque for "commercial chassis" institutional vehicles, such as limousines, ambulances, hearses and funeral home flower cars, the last three of which were custom-built by aftermarket manufacturers. Cadillac does not produce any such vehicles in their factory.
In July 1917, the United States Army needed a dependable staff car and chose the Cadillac Type 55 Touring Model after exhaustive tests on the Mexican border. Two thousand three hundred fifty of the cars were supplied for use in France by officers of the American Expeditionary Force during World War I.
Pre-World War II Cadillacs were well-built, powerful, mass-produced luxury cars aimed at an upper class market. In the 1930s, Cadillac added cars with V12 and V16 engines to their range, many of which were fitted with custom coach-built bodies; these engines were remarkable at the time for their ability to deliver a combination of high power, silky smoothness and quietness.
Automobile stylist Harley Earl, whom Cadillac had recruited in 1926 and who was to head the new Art and Color section starting in January 1928, designed for 1927 a new, smaller "companion" car to the Cadillac which he called the La Salle, after another French explorer, René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. That marque remained in production until 1940.
The Coupe deVille (sometimes spelled Coupe Deville or Coupe DeVille) was a model of Cadillac from 1949 through 1993.
The Coupe deVille was introduced by Cadillac late in the 1949 model year. Part of the Cadillac Series 62 line, it was a closed, two-door coupé, Cadillac's first pillarless hardtop. Intended as a prestige model, at $3,497 it was one of the most expensive models of the Series 62 line. It was luxuriously trimmed, with leather upholstery and chrome 'bows' in the headliner to simulate the ribs of a convertible top. The first-year Coupe deVille sold 2,150 units, but 1950 sales were more than double, and 1951 more than doubled those of the previous year. By 1961 it was one of the company's most popular models, with annual sales above 20,000.
Cadillac De Ville nomenclature always followed a tradition: Two doors with steel roofs were always Coupe De Ville, four doors were always Sedan De Ville until the elimination of two door models, and convertibles were Series 62s, as they were neither a coupe, nor a sedan by design.
Further, from the beginning and for many years, De Ville denoted an option package on the basic car (called Series 62, later Calais), NOT the body style. In other words, you could have a four-door Cadillac that was NOT a Sedan De Ville, nor would it have such lettering on the flanks of the car.
In 1959 the DeVille line was redesigned and separated in a distinct Series 63. The new model featured full fender skirts and a sleeker front end.
The Coupe de Ville, like other Cadillacs, grew substantially larger and more powerful from 1949 through the early 1970s. By 1973 it was 4 in. (101.6 mm) longer in wheelbase, 17 inches (431.8 mm) longer overall, and more than 900 lb (408 kg) heavier, and its standard V8 engine had grown from 331 in³ (5.4 L) to 472 in³ (7.7 L).